Can you imagine a municipal bylaw that would prevent gossiping, or rumour-mongering? Enter the “Polite Police” at Saskatoon City Council who recently proposed an anti-bullying bylaw that would make Saskatoon a kinder, gentler place . . . or else!
Only thugs are indifferent to bullying but the devil is in the details as we see in the proposed Saskatoon bylaw. It would apply to schools, public places like parks and shopping malls and defines bullying as any unprovoked, repeated and inappropriate comment or action intended to cause harm, fear or distress.
This includes things like name-calling, gossiping, and rumour-mongering. Fines would range from $300 all the way up to $2,500 for repeat offenders who habitually engage in this sort of ostracizing behaviour.
Could the tacit strategy be to prevent Saskatoonians from speaking ill of their nut-bar city councillors? What better way to silence the unwashed masses than to impose a “revenue tool” to curtail valid criticism? Politicians and bureaucrats have feelings too, you know!
It’s not difficult to imagine the absurd situations that might arise with this bylaw in place as people call the Saskatoon Bully Police to claim they’ve been “ostracized”.
Immense and justifiable public backlash has sent the proposal back for review with even some city councillors voicing concerns about the bylaw itself along with questions about how it would actually be enforced.
We already have libel and slander laws on the books. And if an act of bullying is physical, then one should call 9-1-1.
In the meantime, life goes on hopefully without any paternalistic social engineering via the wannabe Care Bears on Saskatoon City Council.